The mission of the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) is to work collaboratively with our community and public safety partners to ensure effective and timely 911 call answering and dispatching.
BOEC provides service to the residents, visitors, and emergency response agencies throughout Multnomah County, including Corbett, Fairview, Gresham, Maywood Park, Portland, Sauvie Island Troutdale and Wood Village.
BOEC is operated by the City of Portland and has agreements with partner agencies to provide call-taking and dispatch services. Agencies include Portland Police, Portland Fire & Rescue, Gresham Police, Gresham Fire and Emergency Services, Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, Corbett Fire District 14 & Sauvie Island Fire District 30, and Multnomah County Emergency Medical Services.
The bureau’s 911 and public safety dispatch operation is supported by several program areas:
- Technology Systems Support
- Training & Development
- Quality Assurance & Accountability
- Emergency Management
- Business Operations
BOEC strives to ensure all data and performance measures are clearly defined, understood and accurately reported. The BOEC strategic plan includes initiatives that focus on adequate staffing to meet national performance standards, ensuring timely and accurate call triage, leveraging technology, and developing employee skills. BOEC aggressively recruits and hires new trainees and continually strives to improve the training program.
BOEC maintains the drive to meet and exceed national performance standards. BOEC continues to recruit and train dispatchers at a record pace, and after more than a decade of understaffing, all budgeted positions are filled. This is a significant accomplishment considering that 911 centers across the nation are struggling to find 911 Operators. While improved staffing benefits BOEC and our community, there has been a direct impact on facility overcrowding.
BOEC Key Performance Measures are focused on core activities. Performance is based on metrics, including meeting national call answering standards. Procedural adjustments have been made to answer calls more quickly. To maintain transparency, BOEC statistical reports are posted monthly and have shown steady performance improvement over the past year. BOEC continues progress with a highly customized Operations Staff Scheduling and Performance Analysis System, which aids in efficient staffing of the bureau as well as in identifying staffing gaps.
Bob Cozzie, Director
Bob Cozzie is the Director of the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC). He started his career as a 9-1-1 call taker for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1995, and his career path includes trainer, lead worker, assistant supervisor, Training Coordinator, and Public Information Officer. He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Management from Colorado Christian University, and Bob and his family moved to the Portland area in 2003 where he was the Training Manager for BOEC, and later Director of Clackamas County 911. He returned to BOEC in 2018 to assume the director role.
Bob serves on numerous committees that have a direct impact on the 9-1-1 industry and public safety, including:
- Chair of the State Interoperability Executive Council
- Oregon Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (Past President, Finance Committee, and Legislative Committee)
- Regional Disaster Preparedness Organization (Steering Committee)
- Portland Dispatch Center Consortium
He is a board member of Responder Life, a non-profit organization, which helps to equip public safety first responders to lead healthy and productive lives.
Bob has a military background having served Active Duty and as a Reservist in the United States Air Force. He is married, and has four grown children and seven grandchildren and enjoys swimming, running, and a variety of other fitness activities.
Some of Bob’s favorite quotes:
“Never forget to be truthful and kind. Hold these virtues tightly. Write them deep within your heart.” – Ancient Proverb
“A good way to forget your troubles is to help others out of theirs.” – John L. Mason
“The leader is the ‘servant’ of his followers in that he removes the obstacles that prevent them from doing their jobs.” – Max DePree
“Be yourself. Who else is better qualified?” – Frank Giblin
Lisa St. Helen, Operations Manager
Lisa St. Helen began at the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) in September, 1995 and has worked as a 9-1-1 Call taker, Police and Fire Dispatcher, Coach, Supervisor, and Assistant Operations Manager. Lisa became the bureau's Operations Manager in 2015. When she started at BOEC, she never imagined she would build a successful and meaningful career in emergency services, but found a home where she least expected it.
Lisa is passionate about providing exceptional public service to the members of the very community in which she grew up in and still lives in today. As the bureau's Operations Manager and City of Portland employee, Lisa enjoys and takes great pride in serving and supporting the call takers and dispatchers who serve the community 24/7 each and every day of the year. It is her never-ending focus to create a work environment that is supportive, healthy, and caring, which she believes directly relates to providing the best service possible to the community. Lisa is proud of the work that happens within BOEC and feels blessed to be a part of something so important.
On a personal note, Lisa is a life-long Portland resident, born and raised within just a few miles of where she works today. Now that her daughter is grown, Lisa loves to read, work on puzzles, and travel both near and far. She is grateful every day for the difficult work she is tasked with and looks forward to continuing that work well into the future.
Steve Mawdsley, Assistant Operations Manager
Steve Mawdsley serves as the Assistant Operations Manager at the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC). He began his career in 2005 and has worked as a State-certified Call taker, Dispatcher, Coach, and Supervisor. In his present role as Assistant Operations Manager, Steve is responsible for leading a team of supervisors who oversee the work of the bureau’s highly-trained calltakers and dispatchers.
Steve provides leadership and guidance to the supervisors regarding staffing, policy decisions, and professional development. He is responsible for helping to maintain a positive work environment that honors multiple collective bargaining agreements and other established bureau and City policies. He encourages collaboration and professional growth by distributing projects and educational opportunities among the staff. He was the bureau’s lead manager on the successful implementation of Text-to-911. He represents the bureau on both the Police and Fire dispatch committees and belongs to the Oregon Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO).
Steve is a dedicated husband and proud father to three wonderful children. He maintains involvement in his community’s Boy Scout Troop where his son seeks to follow in his dad’s footsteps by achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.
Steve brings to the workplace his real-world values of hard work, integrity, leading by example, and fairness. He believes that his greatest responsibility is to support his team of dedicated 911 professionals so they can continue to provide exceptional service to the community and partner agencies.
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself” – Henry Ford
Todd DeWeese, Assistant Operations Manager
Todd DeWeese serves as the Assistant Operations Manager at the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC). He provides supervision, guidance, and mentorship to 14 front-line supervisors, as well as provides general oversight and guidance in operations on a 24/7 basis. He serves as an advisor to the bureau’s Operations Manager on policy, technical, and functional issues.
Todd has worked for BOEC since June 1994, initially as a call taker and Police, Fire, and Medical Dispatcher, promoted to Supervisor in September 1999, and promoted to Assistant Operations Manager in May 2021. Todd also has experience as BOEC’s Public Information Officer (PIO) and Emergency Management Coordinator.
Todd is tasked with creating, executing, and maintaining a career and leadership development and mentorship program open to all employees as part of the bureau’s Strategic Plan. This program will provide opportunities for staff to increase their collective knowledge by cross-training disciplines, increase efficiency, and provide a greater understanding as to how the bureau and 911 profession works. Furthermore, this project helps provide for and defines future succession planning while improving employee morale. Todd is excited about the opportunities, as well as challenges he now faces in this role.
Away from work, Todd enjoys spending time with his family, grilling on the back deck, and watching Portland Trail Blazers, Portland Timbers, and Portland Thorns games. He enjoys listening to old school music from the 1950s, '60s, '70s, and '80s while hanging out on his back deck. Todd loves watching movies of every genre, but he really loves a good comedy
Melanie Payne, Training and Development Manager
Melanie Payne serves as the Emergency Communications Training and Development Manager for BOEC. She oversees instructors, certified coach-trainers and training teams as they promote competency, excellence, and functional skill development. This position has four primary functions:
- Manage training for initial certification of new employees as they gain competency processing 9-1-1/non-emergency calls and dispatching responders on calls for service
- Facilitate the learning process for on-the-job training
- Recruit and hire new talented and diverse candidates
- Manage ongoing training and development for certified staff so that they can maintain their skills.
Melanie graduated from Arizona State University with a BS in Communication. Her background includes instructing public speaking and small group communication at Arizona State University, recruiting and managing interns for major corporations, and leading certification and ongoing training efforts for the City of Phoenix Development Services Department. She is proud to work with extraordinary people who are dedicated to promoting, and ensuring, public safety in this community.
Ryan DesJardins, Quality Assurance Manager
Ryan DesJardins has been at BOEC since October, 2017. Previously, he worked at Clackamas County 911 in Oregon City and Whitman County 911 in Pullman, Washington. Professionally, Ryan is most passionate about improving the work environment and operational systems for the bureau. He wants BOEC employees to be supported properly so they are able to assist the public, police officers, fire fighters, and medical responders as safely and efficiently as possible.
Personally, Ryan is most passionate about photography and caring for the small farm he lives on with his wife and daughter. He is also frequently in his wood and metal shop building creations for his wife’s garden and his personal use.
Ryan has been working in the Public Safety field for over 20 years as a dispatcher, supervisor and manager. His role at BOEC is to oversee quality assurance, risk management and organizational and employee accountability. He oversees the bureau’s Just Culture system of accountability and provides support to supervisors and management to design or redesign Bureau work systems to support employee and organizational performance goals.
Murrell Morley, Technology Applications Manager
Murrell Morley is the Technology Applications Manager for the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC). He has been with BOEC since 2000 and has worked as a police, fire and EMS Call-taker/Dispatcher, Coach, and as a Supervisor. As the Technology Applications Manager, Murrell is responsible for managing the Versadex Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system and Vesta telephone system used by the BOEC Call-takers and Police & Fire Dispatchers, as well as the Mobile Data Computers (MDC) used by our partner agency responders in the field. He is also responsible for maintaining the interface connections to the CAD system, which include paging (PageMaster), fire station alerting (Zetron), Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS), audio recordings (PYXIS), partner agency vehicle GPS/AVL, American Medical Response (AMR) CAD system, and the Media Map.
Patrick Jones, Client Services Manager
Patrick Jones is responsible for client services for BOEC. He is tasked with liaison duties between the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) and our police, fire, and medical service partner agencies within Portland and Multnomah County. Patrick’s client portfolio includes more than a dozen additional public safety entities at the local, regional, state, and federal level that partner with BOEC to provide unparalleled service to the citizens of Multnomah County.
Patrick started his career at BOEC in 1991 as a call taker and Police Dispatcher. In 1994, following the move of fire dispatch services to BOEC, he became one of the first civilians to dispatch fire responders in Multnomah County. Since then, he has served as a Coach, Operations Supervisor, project manager and program coordinator.
In Portland and Multnomah County, BOEC is the conduit through which most emergency service information flows and Patrick is proud to support and facilitate the work of the men and women on both sides of the radio so that they can best serve the needs of the citizens.
Mike Grimm, Emergency Management Coordinator
Mike Grimm serves as the Emergency Management Coordinator for BOEC. Mike holds an Associate’s Degree in Fire Protection Technology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Safety and Health. He began his career at BOEC in August of 2000 as a dispatcher. After going back to school to earn his Bachelor’s degree, Mike decided it was time to stop being reactive to 911 calls and more proactive in emergency response. He is happy working for the city to ensure that the dispatchers he has known and loved for so long are safe when they need help.
Woodworking is his hobby and his way of melting away the stresses of the day.
Jaymee Cuti, Public Information Officer
Jaymee Cuti joined the Portland bureaus of Emergency Management (PBEM) and Emergency Communications (BOEC) in March 2023.
A FEMA-certified public information officer with a decade of experience in communications for the City of Portland, Jaymee previously served as Public Information Officer for the Portland Water Bureau (2014-2023) and Portland Housing Bureau (2012-2014).
She led and supported communications for regional emergencies, including an all-city boil water event, the Eagle Creek Fire, the COVID-19 pandemic, a shooting at Umpqua Community College, and Oregon's total solar eclipse response. Jaymee has experience in print and radio journalism.
Jaymee has a bachelor's degree in communications and art history from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Dan Douthit, Public Information Officer
Dan Douthit serves as the public information officer for the City of Portland Community Safety Division (CSD). The position oversees public information and media relations.
Dan started working at PBEM in 2008, first as a program specialist focused on regional coordination, and then as public information officer in 2013. Dan started working for BOEC in 2018. He also previously served as a staff member in Portland Mayor Tom Potter’s office. He holds an M.A. in Political Science and B.A. in Political Science and Canadian-American Studies from Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.
History of 9-1-1 (Federal, State, and Local)
March 1973 – The Federal Government issued a bulletin recognizing the benefits of 9-1-1, encouraged nationwide adoption of 9-1-1 and placed responsibility for its development with local government.
April 1977 - Boeing Computer Services supplied the first CAD (computer aided dispatch) system in Multnomah County. Storage disks were 20 megabytes so only 1000 incidents could be saved online. Entire incident and unit histories were printed daily in a seven-inch thick printout for record keeping and research. No online search by address, or any other data element were available, address changes took six months to process through Boeing in Seattle, and when the system crashed, all screens went completely blank.
June 1981 – The Oregon Legislature calls for implementation of 9-1-1 services statewide by Dec. 31, 1991. The purpose was to provide all Oregonians with a single, easy-to-remember number to call for emergency services. The measure instituted a three percent telephone excise tax to help offset the costs of compliance by telephone companies and local governments. The funds were disbursed quarterly to cities and counties on a per-capita basis from a dedicated Emergency Communications Account. Local Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) user groups assumed responsibility for allocating the funds for the planning, installation, operation and improvement of local 9-1-1 systems. At the time, there were over 280 PSAPs in Oregon with only a few providing 9-1-1 services and none providing enhanced services.
January 1991 – The state/local partnership is a success; Oregon became the sixth state in the country to have border to border 9-1-1 services. During this 10-year period, local PSAP user groups worked to consolidate the call taking and dispatch functions. The number of communication centers declined from 293 to just 91 statewide. Local governments continue to explore all options to improve efficiency without sacrificing public safety.
February 1991 – Enhanced 9-1-1 was implemented in Multnomah County. The new system brought computerized information about a 9-1-1 caller's location and telephone number. This invaluable feature has nearly eliminated the need for lengthy telephone tracing procedures in the event of hang-ups or "incomplete" calls, and speeds service to people who need emergency help, but may be unable to voice their address or problem.
June 1991 – The Legislature Mandates Enhanced 9-1-1 in all of Oregon by the year 2000. All Primary PSAPs became Enhanced Capable and completed this mandate by Dec. 31, 1999. The Legislature also increase the rate of taxation from three to five percent. The additional two percent was earmarked by the state to pay for state-wide Enhancement of existing 9-1-1 systems and the establishment of a Telecommunicator standards and certification program.
July 1993 – Oregon became the first state in the nation to establish minimum Telecommunicator and Emergency Medical Dispatcher standards and certification requirements with annual maintenance requirements through a program managed by the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training.
March 1994 – BOEC implements PRC CAD in Multnomah County. Originally based in San Francisco, PRC was eventually bought by Black & Decker and finally, Northrop Grumman who owns it still today. This new CAD allowed dispatchers to monitor multiple incidents at one time, search previous incidents, and quickly locate relevant responder safety information (i.e. resident anti-police, owns multiple handguns). Cost was 5 million for the CAD and MDT system.
June 1995 – The Oregon Legislature changed the structure of the tax from five percent of the local access bill to a flat rate of 75 cents on any retail subscriber who has telecommunication services capable of accessing 9-1-1 services. Cellular service was developing rapidly with increasing numbers of 9-1-1 calls being placed on wireless phones. Subsequently, the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules requiring wireless companies to be able to provide the location of a wireless 9-1-1 call by October or 2001 (The Phase II Wireless mandate).
December 2005 – Oregon set and met the date of Dec. 31, 2005 to be ‘Phase II Ready’ border to border. PSAPs must now provide mapping, equipment and trained Telecommunicator’s to provide this service. Mapping capabilities are available at every 9-1-1 call answering position in order to locate wireless calls using coordinates on a map rather than address.
April 2011 – Based in Toronto, Canada, the windows based Versaterm CAD system replaces PRC CAD in Multnomah County. Versaterm is also the vendor for RegJIN, which replaced PPDS in April, 2015. Cost was $14.5 million for the CAD and MDT system.
June 2016 – Began 24/7 monitoring our new non-publicized text- to-911 program. The Oregon Office of Emergency Management was not prepared to roll out text-to-911 due to various risks associated with the program. Several 9-1-1 centers did not want to wait and worked together to come up with their own text-to-911 program in the meantime. August 2016 – Following two Portland Metro regional press conferences, 911 centers in Clackamas County, Clark County, Clatsop County, Columbia County, Marion County, and Washington County have recently implemented a text to 911 service. Slogan: Call if you can, text if you can’t.
November 2017 – The State of Oregon provided BOEC an upgrade to the Vesta 9-1-1 Telephone & Mapping system. This integrated technology greatly improves 9-1-1 and emergency call processing capabilities and date analytics. It replaces a similar system installed in the early 2000’s and uses the latest in Voice over Internet Protocols (VoIP) for managing call-intake and distribution.
Looking Ahead – Next Generation (Next-Gen) 9-1-1 will allow the public to make voice, text, or video emergency “calls” from any communications device via Internet Protocol-based networks. The PSAP of the future will also be able to receive data from personal safety devices such as Advanced Automatic Collision Notification systems, medical alert systems, and sensors of various types. The new infrastructure envisioned by the NG9-1-1 project will support “long distance” 9-1-1 services, as well as transfer of emergency calls to other PSAPs – including any accompanying data. In addition, the PSAP will be able to issue emergency alerts to wireless devices in an area via voice or text message, and to highway alert systems.
1981 – Emergency Services Operator (ESO) job classification was created and 16 employees were hired to dispatch medical calls. These employees worked side-by-side with the ECOs who handled police call-taking and dispatch.
Bear in mind that in the 1980s, BOEC also performed the function now tasked to the Telephone Report Unit (TRU), report-taking of certain cold calls. BOEC had criteria very similar to that of TRU, and on calls such as “cold car prowls” an incident would be created, closed out, and given to the Report Taker to handle. The bureau typically hired 1-2 people on a part-time (32 hours a week) basis to do so. However, if reports began to stack up, then an ECO would be asked to come back and assist with reports. At some point the concept of having officers on “light-duty” write such reports was formed and that’s how TRU began. In 2014, the Portland Police Bureau renamed TRU as the Operational Support Unit (OSU).
In 1994, BOEC took over Fire Dispatch with the move to a new center. As such, the ESO classification was updated to Emergency Communications Police Dispatcher (ECPD) and Emergency Communications Fire Dispatcher (ECFD). As more personnel were cross-trained to perform both job functions, the Emergency Communications Senior Dispatcher (ECSD) classification was created.
In 2007, the Emergency Communications Call Taker (ECCT) classification was added. Their function is to answer 9-1-1 and non-emergency phone calls.
In 2016, the Bureau of Emergency Communications instituted Text-to-911, along with PSAPs located in Washington, Clackamas, Clark, Columbia, Marion, and Clatsop counties.